Mother’s Loss Becomes A Cautionary Tale
Published 7:00 am Sunday, April 3, 2022
Jane Hines said good things about her son, Matt, to an assembly of George Rogers Clark High School freshmen last week.
The story of his tragic death from a drug overdose also served as a cautionary tale for students attending the “Truth or Consequences” event.
“Matt was in the band and very good at what he did. He played drums in the marching band,” Hines said about her son’s time at GRC.
Hines said Matt was “kind of a hippie” and loved retro things. He was involved in many church young groups and served on mission teams.
Most important all, Matt was a tremendous friend.
“He helped a lot. He was one of those guys with his friends. He was the go-to guy. When they had a problem and needed to talk to somebody, ‘Just go see Matt,’” she said. “And he was a good listener, and he didn’t always have answers, but he was there for you.”
Things changed when Matt started hanging out with a different crew of friends.
“He started smoking some weed, and you know I was the kind of parent that was like, ‘You know, I don’t like it, but now that’s not the worst thing we have to deal with,’” Hines said.
After Matt graduated from GRC, he moved to the west coast and settled in San Francisco, California where his situation worsened.
“He lived in golden gate park as a homeless person, and he didn’t have to be. It really kind of bothered me that he was living homeless, and he didn’t have to be,” Hines said. “There were other people out there that were, you know, worse off, but he lived in the park with many other young people just like him. And it’s like, they were looking for something.”
Years later, he moved to Denver, Colorado, to live with a friend, but in 2014 Hines received the call no parent ever wants to get.
“It was one of his best friends. In fact, it was the one that drove him, and he said, ‘I need to talk to you.’ I thought, ‘Oh boy, you got trouble, got arrested or something.’ And he said, ‘He’s not with us anymore.’” Hines recalled.
The news left Hines distraught, and she had to be taken home from her job.
“It was a living nightmare. Have you ever had are so real that you thought it happened? That’s how this was, but it did happen,” she said.
There were a few things that Hines wanted to impress on the students.
The first was simple.
“Whether it’s your real parents or foster parents or grandparents or whatever, somebody cares,” Hines said.
The second is that actions always have consequences.
“I promise you whether it’s to stay away from the drugs you choose to go with, again, you have got to face the consequences that what this is all about is realizing that there are consequences to everything you do,” Hines said. “There are consequences to good things you do, and hopefully there are good, good consequences, but there are also bad ones.”